The European Commission published its fourth annual Rule of Law report (2023). The Report sets out key elements of the rule of law developments in the European Union and presents Member State-specific assessments in 27 country chapters. The report covers four pillars: national justice systems, anti-corruption frameworks, media pluralism and other institutional checks-and balances. There is a general report, country chapters with a more detailed analysis for each Member State and as of this year the report also includes specific recommendations to all Member States.
At the General Assembly in Ljubljana 7-9 June 2023, the ENCJ adopted the 2022-2023 Report on the Independence, Accountability and Quality of the Judiciary.
The Report deals with several issues:
In relation to Independence and Accountability, the main findings are that :
On 9 June 2023, the ENCJ adopted the model of a Code of Conduct for Members of Councils for the Judiciary.
Topics addressed by the model of a Code of Conduct are: integrity, independence and impartiality, competence, cooperation, respect, loyalty, transparency and obligation of reserve and discretion.
On 7-9 June, 2023 ENCJ General Assembly on a topic "Courts fit for the future" took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The ENCJ General Assembly was hosted by Sodni Svet.
In view of the further deterioration of the problem of insufficient (inadequate) judicial remuneration observed in several Members of the ENCJ, the Executive Board adopted the following statement.
Independent judiciary in each Member State is crucial for ensuring the fundamental values of Art. 2 TEU, on which the European Union is founded. Financial security is an important component of judicial independence.
Results of the 4th ENCJ Survey on the Independence of Judges carried out in 2022 reveal struggles in the realm of cooperation with other state powers. In a State governed by the Rule of Law, all state powers should support each other in carrying out their functions, and all should refrain from interfering with the competence of others. The remuneration of judges is directly linked to judicial independence, therefore close cooperation of all state powers in this realm is vital.
On 31st of January the Hungarian Council for the Judiciary has issued comments and recommendations on the draft legislation proposed by the Ministry of Justice of Hungary.
The Council draws attention to the fact the proposed legislation does not meet the commitments made by the Hungarian Government to the European Union and the declared intentions to strengthen the role and powers of the National Judicial Council of Hungary.
The European Commission has invited the ENCJ to contribute to the European Commission Rule of law report.
ENCJ's contribution (for the ENCJ contribution, click here) is amongst other based on the information collected from ENCJ Members', the ENCJ general statements, actions and letters.
The Executive Board of the ENCJ welcomes the milestones set by the European Commission to strengthen Judicial Independence in Hungary. The strengthening of the competences of the Judicial Council of Hungary is necessary for it to safeguard Judicial Independence and will improve the checks and balances in the Judicial system. A Council for the Judiciary can only fulfill its role if it is independent of the legislature and executive and is attributed with sufficient powers.
On 17 and 18 October 2022 an ENCJ Board delegation visited Hungary upon the the invitation of the National Judicial Council (OBT). The visit was to show solidarity and support the members of the OBT in their efforts to uphold the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence in Hungary. At the ceremonial meeting of the OBT the President of the OBT and the ENCJ President delivered a speech.